Nina Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon, died after catching a chill from which she never recovered.

Returning home from having brought a petition, signed by over 200 societies, to a private audience with the Pope, she got stuck in a snowstorm and developed a throat condition. Due to her opinions on medical research, she refused to be operated on. When the condition worsened, she also refused antibiotics. The condition led to her death the following year.

Following her death, the SSPV gave a donation of £2,000 to the Ferne Animal Sanctuary which she had set up from her estate in England. She had been running it for about ten years at this point and had helped over 6,000 animals in that time, including many who had become homeless following air raids on London.

The Sanctuary was left by the Duchess of Hamilton to the Animal Defence and Anti-vivisection Society, which was federated with the SSPV, and it was the Duchess’ wish that it treated animals and children using non-vivisectional methods.

The Annual Report from 1951 stated:

It is with very great regret that we have to record the death of Her Grace, Nina, Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon, our beloved President, who died on 12th January 1951. She died as she would have wished, whilst carrying out her work in the cause of humanity. Together with two officers of the International Humanitarian Bureau, she was received in private audience by the Pope to present a Petition signed by over two hundred Societies. On her return journey, travelling through a snowstorm, she caught a chill from which she did not recover. On 18th January she was laid to rest at Ferne, Dorset, after a life wholly devoted to the Humanitarian movement. Representatives from this Society, of which Her Grace was President from the year 1918 until her death, attended the funeral service held at Salisbury Cathedral, and the Memorial Service held at a later date at the Parish Church, Hamilton”.

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